BUSINESS is buoyant for ferry operator Western Ferries with a pre-tax profit of over £2 million - on top of a £3m investment in its Gourock berth.

The company, which runs the car and passenger service between McInroy's Point and Dunoon, has released its latest annual accounts.

They show that revenue increased by more than £300,000 to just under £8m for the year to March 31, 2018.

Pre-tax profits were down by £190,000 to £2.32m, although operating expenditure rose by £520,000 to £5.66m.

Company bosses say spending on the firm's terminals on both sides of the River Clyde is ongoing, with a projected £3m outlay on Hunters Quay by March this year.

Managing director Gordon Ross said: "The most significant figure is the continued investment in Western Ferries' vessels and shoreside infrastructure.

"And these accounts to March 2018 illustrate the expenditure at McInroy's Point, which is the Inverclyde, Gourock terminal.

"The investment through the year to March 2019 is going to be about the £3m mark."

Western Ferries said it completed 99.6 per cent of 31,814 scheduled sailings during the period.

An additional 100 crossings a day were laid on while the Rest and Be Thankful road in Argyll was closed in October.

The privately-owned company carried 1.4 million passengers last year.

The £3m investment at Hunters Quay will deliver a linkspan built by Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow as well as other shoreside infrastructure improvements.

Ferguson's also constructed the new quayside structure at McInroy's Point during the 2017/18 financial year - part of a £2.7m programme of improvements at the Gourock pier.

Mr Ross said: "This is how we deliver reliability to our customers in Inverclyde and Cowal - to invest in the vessels, maintain the vessels, and the shoreside infrastructure.

"The new linkspans are longer, therefore they are better able to deal with tidal range. "We've extended the berthing space to improve the berthing of the vessels."

As well as operating on the Clyde, the company could venture into other parts of the country.

Mr Ross said: "We are always looking at opportunities to expand the Western Ferries business model to other routes, and believe there are other opportunities on the west coast of Scotland."